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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is one of the most important and influential works in American history. It tells the story of Franklin's life from his humble beginnings to his emergence as a leading figure in the American colonies. In the process, it creates a portrait of Franklin as the quintessential American. Because of the book, Franklin became a role model forThe Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is one of the most important and influential works in American history. It tells the story of Franklin's life from his humble beginnings to his emergence as a leading figure in the American colonies. In the process, it creates a portrait of Franklin as the quintessential American. Because of the book, Franklin became a role model for future generations of Americans, who hoped to emulate his rags to riches story. The Autobiography has also become one of the central works not just for understanding Franklin but for understanding America. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was a man of many roles-printer, author, philosopher, scientist, inventor, diplomat, and politician to name only a few. He lived a wide and varied life and found himself at the center of virtually every major event involving America during the second half of the eighteenth century. He was so successful as a businessman that he was able to retire at the age of 42. He proved equally adept at science, and his experiments in electricity made him the most famous American in the colonies. Politics and diplomacy occupied him for most of the latter half of his life....

Title : The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
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ISBN : 9781411428218
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 176 Pages
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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Reviews

  • Darwin8u
    2019-02-13 19:59

    “...there will be sleeping enough in the grave....” - Benjamin FranklinEven in death, I can't imagine Franklin resting. There is always just too much to do, too many questions to ask, too many books to read, too much to explore. My brother recommended this book to me about 30 years ago. I'm not sure why I never read it until now. Part of it must be the feeling that Benjamin Franklin would always just be there. He wasn't going anywhere. He seems to permeate so much of what it means to be an American and is an essential part our shared historical map. His autobiography, which is divided into two parts, ends in 1757. So all of the Revolutionary War Franklin and Continental Congress Franklin is obviously missing. These are his early years. It is a portrait of a polymath as a young man. It shows his curiosity, his work ethic, his creativity, his risk-taking, his bridge-building. All the things that would later be used as part of the myth-making around Franklin. After reading this autobiography, I kinda agree with Christopher Hitchen's take about the role of Benjamin Franklin as the Socrates of his day:"Franklin was also the main man. He was drafted onto the committee that drew up the Declaration (and may well have been the one who imposed the ringing term "self-evident," as against the more pompous "sacred and undeniable" in its crucial opening stave.) When George Washington's horse bore him into Philadelphia for the grueling meeting that would eventually evolve the United States Constitution, it was at Franklin's front door that the president necessarily made his first stop.... -The thing about reading Franklin is you are never quite sure when he is pulling one over on the reader. His humor was dry and sharp. He could adapt the language of his foes and flail them with it. He was happy to guide and get things done, rather than glory and stay stationary. He was an American original and we are all better for his curiosity, his humor, his readiness to take risks, his ability to learn and adapt. When people talk about standing on the backs of giants, I imagine we all have climbed a bit on the back of Franklin.

  • Trevor
    2019-02-23 12:34

    This is a curious little book. As an autobiography it suffers from the fact that it leaves out nearly all of the most interesting parts of Franklin’s life. This is a bit like reading an autobiography of John Lennon that ends a few years before he meets Paul McCartney. I’m not saying there is no interest in what is here, but any sort of version of such a man’s life that ends well short of the American Revolution is more than a little heart breaking.There are very amusing parts of this – particularly around how he sought to improve himself both morally, through a thirteen step plan, and as a writer. In fact, as ‘advice to a young writer’ this book offers some wonderful advice. He would read what he considered to be well written articles and then, a day or two later, would try to re-compose them, as accurately as possible, from memory. Then he would go back to the original article and compare his effort with that. As he persisted with this strategy he would sometimes find he had improved on the original, making the ordering of the points raised more logical or finding a particularly apt phrase that made the point in a way better than had been done in the original. This is such good advice. It is remarkably hard for us to take the reader into consideration when we write – and this method forces us to do exactly that. We think we know what we mean when we write something, but all too often we are only sure of our meaning at the moment we write it, and sometimes not even then. My favourite metaphor is that a writer must ‘take the reader in hand’. And that is the level of care that is called for in our writing. His advice on arguing and avoiding words that imply too much certainty in our views is also well worth heeding. It is interesting to read someone so steeped in the Enlightenment. To read a humanist who, as much as anything else, was keen to see a general improvement in humanity – whether through more universal access to learning (he set up the first subscription library and was instrumental in forming the first university in Pennsylvania) or in finding ways to ensure the streets are kept clean and well lit. In a world so much defined by Galbraith’s memorable phrase about our being prepared to accept personal affluence set amidst public squalor, we can look back in wonder at the civic conscious people of the past.There is something ‘homespun’ in the wisdom contained here, but the writing is always beautifully clear and this book does make you wish he had dedicated more time to telling more of his life – even the parts on his experiments with electricity are skimmed over in ways that leave you wishing for much, much more.

  • Isis
    2019-02-17 15:52

    The charm and pleasure of this book, for me, is that it is not about the famous Benjamin Franklin, the inventor and one of the fathers of the American Revolution, but that it is about the young Franklin; about his education and apprenticeship as a printer to his brother, about his love of books and his determination to improve his writing skills, about how he uprooted himself from his birthplace and family and moved to Philadelphia, and began a business there. He meets rogues and swindlers, has unexpected fortune both good and ill, and eventually prospers through his own cleverness and industry. The first half of the book - and parts of the second half - is as entertaining as any novel.I especially like what it reveals about early and mid-18th century America and its inhabitants. The journey from Boston to Philadelphia was far different in those days! The way he talks about men being "bred" to their various professions is fascinating, as is his discussion of religious beliefs and doctrines of the time. And it's so interesting to see the workings of the pre-Revolutionary government, in which each colony is nearly a separate country, and yet all absolutely subjects of the Crown.Franklin is a sly and entertaining narrator. He does not shy from making himself look bad on occasion, but it's clearly calculated to gain the reader's sympathy and goodwill. He's a schmoozer and a schemer, but he schmoozes and schemes to (what he perceives to be) the common good, not to his own betterment.The book does have some serious flaws. For one thing, it is an abandoned WIP, ending abruptly with his passage to England in 1757. He also laid it down in the middle for a long time, and the second half is markedly different from the first; when he starts again, he repeats himself quite a bit, and then goes into this rather preachy and (to me) boring discussion of virtue, and how he attempted to become a Better Person through diligent self-examination. I also thought his accounts of his involvement in the French and Indian War a little dull in parts. But overall, I really enjoyed this book.I listened to the audiobook version of this book, narrated by Adrian Cronauer, whose own story formed the basis for the movie Good Morning, Vietnam. Cronauer has a pleasant voice, but in my opinion he reads too fast, and his uncompromisingly modern American accent is somewhat at odds with the 18th-century language. I think the audiobook would have been improved by using the accent used in e.g. the recent John Adams HBO miniseries. Maybe I'm just too accustomed to theatrical portrayals of Franklin to accept a modern voice!

  • Shannon
    2019-02-17 16:37

    Man oh man, that dude had some mad skills. This book is written somewhat sloppily - changing narrative styles throughout, carrying on from time to time, and not even finishing it - but the content is truly amazing. Why didn't I learn in school about how awesome Ben Franklin was? In addition to his kite flying escapade, he invented a better type of wood burning furnace, and a better street lamp. He created the first public university in America (U. Penn), helped create one of the first public hospitals, and came up with the idea for the first fire department, and the first public library. His main profession was a printer and newspaper man (which served him well in marketing many of his projects), but he also served as a colonel, a postmaster general, and an assemblyman. His career is just astounding. Also - it isn't covered in this book, but he was one of the core founding fathers. According to Wikipedia, "He is the only Founding Father who is a signatory of all four of the major documents of the founding of the United States: the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris, the Treaty of Alliance with France, and the United States Constitution." Ever wonder why he is on the $100 bill even though he wasn't a president? It's because the dude pretty much single handedly built America :-)I will concede that the man was not modest, but regardless, it's hard to argue with his track record.

  • Ilyn Ross
    2019-02-08 19:40

    Dr. Benjamin Franklin is the embodiment of Thomas Edison’s “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” He came from a poor family. His sensible father was of good character. Dr. Franklin was a deist. What God has given man, he purposefully, methodically, and continually used to improve himself. A self-driven independent thinker, he endeavored to improve, not only mentally and financially, but morally. He did it for his own sake, and the fruits became the glory of mankind. Dr. Franklin resolved to practice virtues every moment. He said he was not so successful in some, e.g. Order, but his ambitious efforts did him well. Some in the list, e.g. humility, were purposed to conquer his natural inclinations. It is clear from his depictions of his practice of humility that he did not mean self-abasement nor self-negation – he practiced diplomacy. He said about humility: “I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the reality of this virtue, but I had a good deal about the appearance of it… In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it perhaps, often in this history; for even if I conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should be probably proud of my humility.” A benevolent man of great honor, Dr. Franklin had no mean bone in his body. He used reason and persuasion to advance his convictions. His integrity earned the respect and trust of his fellowmen. It is logical that he could not subdue his pride – because, as Ayn Rand said, “pride is the sum of all virtues” ( Dr. Franklin earned the virtue of pride. He depicted errors that he regretted. He had the misfortune of losing a four-year-old son to smallpox. I found page 63 very interesting. I dearly enjoyed reading Dr. Franklin’s words. I laughed heartily at this part: a great gun is certainly a fire engine.Dr. Benjamin Franklin had an exemplary, glorious life.

  • James
    2019-02-21 12:43

    In the summer of 1771, while he was living in a country home in England, Benjamin Franklin began an autobiography that he was destined to never finish. He prepared an outline of a final section that he did not complete, but the four parts that he did finish represent one of the seminal documents of the enlightenment. He was a statesman, an author, an inventor, a scientist, a printer, and the list goes on and on when describing Benjamin Franklin. As an autobiographer he also demonstrated his genius as he reinvented the genre and the result is a classic. By focusing on his own self-invention the narrator of the autobiography broke with the previous models of this type of writing and provided a way for America to imagine itself. Reading this work is both useful and inspirational. Undoubtedly that was intended for the author demonstrated a practicality in everything he did in his long life. The book also demonstrates a secular character that differs from some of the earlier classics such as Augustine's Confessions. For those who love reading his description of the founding of the first lending library is a perfect example of how he led his life, and he determined from this experience that the best way to promote a project was to remain in the background, avoiding self-promotion."I therefore put my self as much as I could out of sight, and stated it as a Scheme of a Number of Friends, who had requested me to go about and propose it to such as they thought Lovers of Reading. In this way my Affair went on more smoothly, and I ever after practis'd it on such Occasions; and from my frequent Successes, can heartily recommend it."The autobiography is filled with many examples like this and may be read as not only the story of a person's life, but as the foundation of a country's character. I am reminded of a lecture I attended several years ago where Franklin's achievement was described as a "new Regime" by Professor Joseph Alulis. In his lucid and invigorating presentation at the Chicago Cultural Center (part of the First Friday series of lectures of the Basic Program of Liberal Education at the University of Chicago), he told how Franklin outlined a new order - a foundation for what became The United States of America. Only 5 years after writing the first part of his autobiography Franklin would join Thomas Jefferson and others in writing the Declaration of Independence of the United States. The autobiography is an inspirational work and one that recommends a life of the pursuit of virtue and wisdom. It is a book worth reading and rereading.

  • Bruce
    2019-02-21 19:47

    I read this book as a teenager and was so captivated that I tried Franklin’s scheme of cultivating the virtues, probably with only marginal success. It was fun to reacquaint myself with the work. Franklin first of all affirms that he would live his life over again unchanged, were he given the opportunity. Compare this with Nietzsche’s assertion that such would be repugnant to most men. Thus one can see that Franklin was essentially a content and optimistic man. This book is a candid and non-florid account of his development from a poor and ignorant child to a success in many fields. In this respect he is not reluctant to admit his failures, his misjudgments and follies. He had a fair amount of good luck, too, particularly with respect to helpful people being drawn to him and recognizing his talents. Franklin’s style is not highly literary but almost reportorial. And his presentation is quintessentially secular, with almost none of the pious or even sanctimonious rhetoric associated with such contemporaries as Jonathan Edwards; in this sense he comes across as very modern, thus increasing his relevance for readers today. Franklin affirms his Deism, his rejection of divine revelation, and his essential irreligiousness in practice if not in belief. Franklin is a true heir of the Enlightenment, and his work shows little Romantic sentiment or appreciation. A true polymath, Franklin unabashedly enumerates his activities and accomplishments in many areas of endeavor. His style is not introspective or psychological but an enumeration of events and facts. Yet the narrative flows and is easily readable and entertaining. Here is a prescient comment on politics: “The best public measures are therefore seldom adopted from previous wisdom, but forc'd by the occasion.”This brief, instructive, and entertaining book is worth the reading, as it sheds light on an important figure in American history and on the 18th century in this country.

  • Holly
    2019-02-06 12:58

    This is a wonderfully inspiring Read. It's a small book packed with great insights into virtuous living. His curiosity and observation of the world around him lead him to live an amazingly full life in which he accomplished much for the good of mankind. All this combined with his wit and writing style make it enjoyable to read and truly encourages the reader towards self improvement. I'm actually reading it again right now. It's great for new year's resolutions.

  • Jan Rice
    2019-02-19 17:36

    This was exciting, once I found out it really was his autobiography! I couldn't believe it at 1st. Turned out to be divided roughly into two parts, the 1st starting with his family history and younger years, and the second coming later after a break. He was in his 80s, and his public had encouraged him to continue. The 2nd part is a little slower but still informative. The book is not very long, not a huge tome. It stops all of a sudden, before the revolutionary years. Maybe he just couldn't find the time! ...I often see that people are claiming to know what the founding fathers were like and what they thought. Well, here it is--you can find out for yourself. Politically, among other things, he may be an equal-opportunity offender. His family were Protestants, Presbyterians, but he wouldn't go to church. He told how he once went to hear one of his favorite scriptural verses preached on. He said he couldn't believe the preacher could ruin it, but he did--changed it from teaching caring behavior toward others into making more Presbyterians! He did believe in treating others as himself; generally his views strike the ear as quite advanced--except for this one story about native Americans and alcoholism: he opined that if God intended to remove Indians in favor of "those who cultivate the land," that maybe alcohol was God's instrument for doing so. (!) It is mostly just exciting, though, to hear this witness from the past. ...This book is available to read right on the Internet, although I got hold of a lively audio edition for a pittance. Here's the Internet site:

  • Henry Avila
    2019-01-30 17:36

    Benjamin Franklin's autobiography is perfect except for one thing, its only half finished!Franklin was prevented from completing it, by becoming involved in the American Revolution.Later going as a diplomat to Paris, to get French help.Born in Boston in 1706, to Josiah Franklin and his wife Abiah. A good student in his youth but the family lacked the money to send him to college. His father was a candle maker and Benjamin after many false starts became an apprentice to his brother James in the printing business.At the age of 11 he was an indentured servant, a virtual slave, no pay ,just room and board.Learning quickly and he even began writing articles for his brother's newspaper, the New England Courant.Fleeing at 17, first to New York and than Philadelphia from James's harsh treatment.Meeting a man named Keimer in Philadelphia, Franklin returned to printing.After years of hard work the future statesman became very successful.A common-law marriage to Sarah Read in 1730, her first husband deserted "Miss Read".Publishing The Pennsylvania Gazette newspaper and Poor Richard"s Almanack and becoming famous also.Writer, scientist,inventor,statesman, diplomat and businessman .Benjamin Franklin helped a new nation arise!

  • Joe
    2019-01-28 19:56

    I have always been very skeptical of self-help books. I read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey on the recommendation of a friend. Covey openly admitted that Benjamin Franklin's autobiography guided his ideas. So, I decided to go right to the source.There is no better life book, and it is so effective because it does not seek to be a self-help book. This autobiography is really just a look into the life of a person who sought only improvement in his own person and engaged in continuous self-reflection to achieve that end. He advocates pillars of morality that should not bend and even explains his efforts to be perfect, ultimately to determine we can't be perfect, but the effort remains worthy.Most illuminating is Franklin's attempts to become better at discussion. He studies himself as if he were his own lab rat and chronicle's his results like the scientist he was. He reminds himself to use phrases like "that is a good point, but have you considered... ?" for the purpose earning his adversaries fair consideration of a point.Unlike many scientific-minded people, Franklin was equally brilliant in the social, political and scientific worlds. And you will see that he takes as much pleasure in the opening of the first library in Pennsylvania as any other accomplishment. It is a great slice of a unique life at a unique time in history.And it is the best book I have ever read.

  • TarasProkopyuk
    2019-02-05 13:34

    Повторно решил прочесть данную книгу, которая два года назад мне открыла Бенджамина Франклина как слишком великую личность для осознания его огромного вклада не только в историю США на ее заре, а и по всему миру как пример для подражания его достижений для людей всех народов, стран и наций на целые века...Мне сложно будет это объяснить, но я приравниваю вклад Франклина в развитие истории человечества сравни Леонардо да Винчи. Нет, я ни в коем случае не хочу сказать, что ценность и роль изобретений первого можно сравнить с изобретениями второго, и тем более Франклин не был знаменит такими талантами какие были у Леонардо, а именно он не стал знаменит как художник, инженер, анатом или же как великий ученый. Что же общего у данных людей? А общего было одна великая особенность! У них было то, что данные люди были пожалуй самыми известными и также невероятно эффективными в результатах своей многопрофильной деятельности "универсальными людьми". Франклин же был весьма талантлив как предприниматель, гражданский активист, политический деятель, дипломат, изобретатель, писатель и журналист.Много можно было бы говорить о роли Бенджамина Франклина и о его многочисленных и существенных результатах деятельности, которые принесли очень много своих плодов и не меньше последователей по всему миру. Но пожалуй порекомендую вам самим прочесть его собственноручную биографию и сделать свои выводы и согласится со мной, или же остаться при своем, возможно другом, мнении.

  • Jessica
    2019-01-30 15:33

    Benjamin Franklin invented the American Fire Department, wood stoves, and the American system of government. You would think, then, that he'd invent some way of writing an autobiography that wasn't boring as hell. But no. Franklin loves his books, and he also loves self-improvement (the best parts of this are his bizarre charts where he rates himself on a 13-point scale of morality). But despite all of his attention to rhetoric this book does not, in my opinion, rise to the occasion of chronicling what by all accounts is a remarkable life. At one point he remarks that books with scenes and dialogue are more pleasurable to read - it's strange that someone so bent on self-improvement did not then think to incorporate such literary devices into his own writing. Like many male autobiographers (from St. Augustine to modern day politicians), early education, mundane philosophies on life in general, and braggadocio about professional accomplishments are given much space, while almost no time is devoted to the truly personal. Love affairs, marriage, children, death of loved ones, dramatic changes in personal beliefs - these are given little or no consideration. Autobiographies like these always leave me wishing the wife had written her side of the story.

  • Niesha
    2019-02-13 14:42

    There is so much to learn from Benjamin Franklin and his autobiography and other writings. Please read it yourself. It is well worth your time. I was inspired by his genius, curiosity in all subjects and in people.

  • Kim
    2019-01-30 14:46

    I really enjoyed this book far more than I anticipated. I've read a lot about Benjamin Franklin but to read his story in his own words makes it really come to life. He had a very down-to-earth writing style. I know that some of the words would have been modernised a little at some point in the publication history but you still get a very 18th century style without it bogging down with a lot of needless filler.My problem with this book though is that there was quite a lot not included. He writes about his life up until 1757. Even though he wrote this parts between 1788 and his death in 1790 he does not have anything after 1757. No lead up to the war. Nothing about the American Revolutionary War. Nothing about the Declaration of Independence, his time in Europe, his time as Postmaster General or as President of Pennsylvania. The biggest events of his life and they aren't included. It is kind of sad.Still, though, a good book about an interesting and important man.

  • ArunMahalingam
    2019-01-31 14:52

    After i read an article that Narendra modi got inspired of Benjamin Franklin,i started this book. It is indeed a book worth reading. Especially, Benjamin's way of life and his 13 moral point is good for everyone to follow .

  • Kressel Housman
    2019-02-12 18:56

    Because of the movie "American Treasure" and the plot sequence involving Benjamin Franklin's Silence Dogood letters (a series of letters he published under a pseudonym at age 16), my youngest son became interested in him and picked out a biography for me to read aloud at night. That biography, written for kids, cites its main source as Ben Franklin's autobiography, so I figured it was high time I read that American classic.I'll admit it: the old-fashioned language of the original is daunting and sometimes made for dull and/or difficult reading. But if you're willing to push past that, you'll be richly rewarded. Because of the language and a few other things I'll go into below, I've rated this book a 4, but some of Franklin's insights are 5-star gems of wisdom. And he's also deliciously tongue-in-cheek.The other reason I didn't give the book a 5 is that it's more memoir than a complete biography. The only mention of the Silence Dogood letters is in the outline at the end; the letters or even a discussion of them didn't make the actual book. He does mention his lightning experiments, but almost in passing, presumably because he'd already published the details elsewhere. And though he does mention the French and Indian War and how it revealed the British army's weakenesses to the colonists, he doesn't talk much about the Revolution and doesn't seem to mention working on the Constitution at all. So while this is probably the best source there is on Franklin's early life and contains some excellent insights into human nature, to get a more general look at Franklin's life, I think I need to read another biography.

  • Jeremy
    2019-02-09 19:58

    Franklin's life was completely nuts. And while his image has become little more than a goofy caricature in our age, the times that he lived and worked in were fraught with bizarre religious strife, nascent colonial revolutionary sentiment, doomed military expeditions, and kooky scientific/technological explorations.America is first and foremost, a WEIRD place. Always has been. Always will be. And Ben Franklin, more than any other founding figure, apothasizes and simultaneously transcends that weirdness on nearly every page of this almost show-offishly florid book.

  • Jimmy
    2019-02-08 11:58

    I just finished a biography and decided to reread his Autobiography, which I read in high school. I loved it then. What kind of boy did that make me? A nerd? A dork? I prefer to say "budding intellectual." I remember myself thinking then about how I could be a better person. Nothing wrong with a book that does that.

  • Maq Khan
    2019-02-07 12:57

    Appreciate the hard working of Benjamin who works hard like him or who is honest?.

  • Ilchi Lee
    2019-02-05 16:45

    Benjamin Franklin's lifetime commitment to personal development really inspired me. I developed great respect and admiration for this prominent American historical figure.

  • Lauren
    2019-02-05 11:54

    Benjamin Franklin as a person was a scientist, diplomat, legislator, inventor, and a proficient statesman. In his eighty-two years, he lived a very full life and accomplished many great achievements, probably his greatest triumph being that of discovering the phenomenon of electricity and how to control it. Franklin was also a skilled politician and pretty much gained accomplishments in whatever he strove to do. In The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Franklin has a very pompous attitude towards himself it seems and he embellishes on his attributes and plays down his faults.It seems like Franklin was trying to be a moral person and have everyone respect and admire him, although, at the same time he flaunted his greatness and flirted with ladies more than half his age. He had no qualms about leaving his wife for seventeen years to go gallivanting across England and then flirting with all the available ladies across London. He did accomplish a great deal for being the son of a candle maker and bringing himself up to all the position of Grand general postmaster and the foreign diplomat to London in honor of the United States.Most everyone that came in contact with Franklin had a favorable opinion of him. It was written by Mr. Benjamin Vaughan that, “being tired of figuring to myself a character of which every feature suits only one man in the world, without giving him the praise of it; I shall end my letter, my dear Dr. Franklin, with a personal application to your proper self” (75). There could be no other man with as many accomplishments and achievements during the time of Franklin than Franklin himself. There were so many fields in which he excelled beyond everyone else and he was an outstanding man for his time.Overall, Benjamin Franklin proved himself to be an outstanding leader and one of the co-founders of the declaration of independence. He worked hard to achieve everything that he did in life and accomplished a great deal in that time. In the present day he is revered as one of the greatest men in American history, even with all of his faults it is not a bad description.

  • Michael
    2019-02-15 19:52

    People do not fall into the category of 'great' by chance or triviality. Ben Franklin worked to improve himself, his community, and the lives of those with whom he shared his existence. He set an example of honesty, hard work, sobriety, fair dealing, and generosity that has been a light on the path of millions. His example seems to me exactly what is needed today.Reading this book was a joy. It's cool too to note the differences in writing style and spelling he used. Just two examples..."musik" and 'requir'd' instead of 'required.' Ben Franklin was a vegetarian early because he didn't like the idea of murdering animals. He watched his hosts preparing fish for dinner and saw inside the fish were smaller fish. He then thought: "Well, if you can eat each other, I can eat you." He liked cakes and pies too. In most of the caricatures I've seen of him, he looked like Big Ben the fat man, not the bell. He did drink wine with dinner and at social occasions but avoided strong liquor. He constantly warned us of the ruinous effects of that old demon alcohol.I feel personally closer to Dr. Franklin after reading this book because his views of religion seem parallel to mine. He hoped for and chose to believe in the existence of a Deity, but could not align himself with any one sect, as he called a denomination. He and I reject the idea that any person can define who or what God is. Each "sect" draws a different conclusion, and is convinced that their particular conclusion is the correct one. I was doing the tourist thing in Philadelphia in 2006 and as I walked on the sidewalk beside an iron fence, I happened to see several coins inside the fence. The coins were on a stone slab. It was the grave of Benjamin Franklin. I was thrilled.......mgc

  • Samantha
    2019-02-05 13:30

    This was a very interesting and informative book made up of letters from Benjamin Franklin to his son over the course of several decades. I listened to it on audiobook which was neat because I sometimes felt like Franklin was sitting right next to me sharing stories of his life. Given the personal letter style, I felt like he became a friend rather than just someone I was reading about. Franklin shares what he learned from his long and active life not hesitating to admit where he made mistakes that had severe repercussions. He talks about his desires to make himself the best person he can be for the sake of his country and those around him. If only more people had a similar attitude today! There are so many little quips and tidbits of wisdom in this book that it would be impossible for me to share them all, but anyone who reads this book will be given something to consider for their own lives.If you are looking for a history of the Revolutionary War, this is not it. Very few mentions are made of some events leading toward war, though there is more detail of Franklin's involvement in the French Indian War. What is covered in this book is highly enjoyable, but it is by no means comprehensive look at Franklin's life.I would have liked to have a hardcopy of this book just to make note of all the little bits of wisdom in it, but listening to it was a great method of taking it in - I would recommend either. Benjamin Franklin was a amazing man and this book is a great way to learn more about lesser known parts of his life.

  • Tony Gu
    2019-01-24 14:52

    a short piece from Benjamin Franklin. all the virtues are pretty inspiring.

  • Josh
    2019-02-22 13:33

    I liked this, and found it a surprising page-turner.I really enjoyed the old fashioned language after getting used to it. Normally, I resist using puffed-up language and always try to find mundane equivalents for words I might naturally use or words that might be slightly more precise. So I thought it wd annoy me that Franklin’s language was unnecessarily elevated and abstract. But it didn't mess with me, I really enjoyed the diction and syntax, reminded me of reading _Cloud Atlas_, where a fiction author writes as if in the 17-1800s and so uses the appropriate language. No doubt Franklin is writing in what people of his time wd consider simple, clear language. But those people hadn't read _The Old Man and the Sea_. Come to think of it, the language actually made me feel, just a little, what it was like to be back in the late 1700s, and living through the Revolution. That was fun.Franklin is the original self-manager. Ok, prob not the very first, but a great early example. He manages and improves everything about his life and work, from how to align type on a printing machine, to how to behave with greater virtue, to how to gain public acceptance of ingenious schemes. He is constantly applying the test of what is useful, and exhorting people to more useful activities. This is fun for an NT to read, esp an INTJ.Franklin is a little full of himself, which he admits in the text, pride being the one virtue he was never able fully to inculcate. But he doesn’t seem much to care, possibly in the mode of Darcy, viz., “But pride -- where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always under good regulation”. Eh. You cd use an Elizabeth, Ben. But still, he always states any self-aggrandizing in the same frank language he uses when admiring or commenting positively on anyone else. So this doesn’t detract from the fun of the book.Franklin and Type:And this leads me to question the prevailing view of him as an ENTP, and he’s often thought to be classic for the Type. But there is so much evidence for J, and ENPs are usu the least J looking. Franklin is constantly devising and then successfully carrying out structured systems for self-improvement in his daily actions. Applied order and self management sounds like J. He doesn’t justify the virtues he lays out as his big 12 or 13, he just takes them for granted and explains how he went about creating a chart to keep track of which virtues he excelled at on which days, and his system for gradually adding more virtues over time. Extremely organized and methodical, all very J-ish.Also Js are said to take life seriously and work before play. Franklin preached industry, and then went out and lived it, working from sunup to sundown on “useful” projects aimed toward achievement and self-improvement and storing up enough wealth to retire. He didn’t relax and play until he felt he had earned it, when he was 60 (and play for him was scientific experimentation, still highly useful). It’s hard to imagine an ENTP treating life so seriously that they work all day and avoid play until old age. Maybe a bio wd show he didn’t stick to this as much as he thinks of himself?Also toward J is the fact that early in life he got in trouble for making conclusive argumentative statements, which due to their tendency to promote ill will, eventually led him to institute a practice against all such statements. But he had to work hard to constantly temper his natural inclination to point out faults to those he talked with and to state his own opinion with words like “certainly” and “obviously”. I believe this kind of outward certainty matches with TJ, not TP.I have heard it said that he’s an ENTP bc of his Socrates-like inclination and ability to engage people in discussion, and elicit seemingly tangential concessions whose logical consequence was a contradiction of their original opinion. But this is just as likely to be Te at work as Ne-Ti. Y, he admitted to being badly organized in his documents and environment, which wd tend toward P, but almost half the INTJs can say the same, and Ns in general have more inclination to be messy or lose things. Another point, he is actually good at laying the facts and details of his life story, like a natural historian, which reminded me of an SJ. So perhaps he cd be an ENTP with his fourth function (Si) coming out in his autobio, but when I considered ISTJ or ESTJ for him, nothing jumped out in the autobio that contradicted this. That’s a big knock against ENTP.I can’t tell about E/I except that he was willing in plenty of situations to isolate himself all day in his industry, and not just bc he loved what he was doing, but bc it was what he shd be doing. This tends toward I. I need to read bios to have a more complete view of him, but for now, I’ll go with TJ, possibly INTJ.

  • Dhruv Sharma
    2019-02-04 17:30

    To be done.

  • KatieMc
    2019-01-26 15:55

    I have a love/hate relationship with one of my book clubs. I love to hate the books they choose. And this one I was determined to hate. Funny thing though, I can't hate this book. In the age of self aggrandizing ghost-written puff-piece memoirs, this was refreshingly humble. Which is ironic because Ben Franklin kind of seems full of himself. Of course, it ends around 1757 when he was a merely middle aged and well before many of the historical juicy bits really happen. The phrasing and vocabulary clearly point to the fact that this isn't anything modern, yet it wasn't oppressively formal. I confess to having read little to no English literature of the period, so I can't honestly make a comparison. I can say that Ben Franklin's writing was decidedly unfancy, and I would bet a nickel that he didn't have an editor.It's worth pondering whether he intended to complete this, and what it might have become of it if he did (set aside the conundrum that one can not truly complete one's autobiography). Looking at the timeline, he started writing in 1771, after the Boston Massacre but well before the first Continental Congress. It seemed that he kind of got busy with other things because he didn't pick it back up until 1784. You have to admit, there is a bit of irony in the fact that his autobiography writing was interrupted by the season of his life for which he is most notorious. Personally, I am happy that it didn't cover the American Revolution as that period is well documented and it would have tripled the length of the book. He was a terribly practicable person, a trait that clearly served him well in politics and his diplomatic career. In demonstrating that all politics are local, he spent several pages on how he garnered support for paving the streets of Boston. What I found interesting about this was how he thought it was important to discuss the drainage and nuances of gutter design. Even though is is primarily thought of as a politician, he can't seem to keep his inner engineer at bay. Combine the scientific pursuits with his dabbling in poetry, philosophy and you have a true renaissance man. You did get some glimpses into his the events that he deemed important, and there were several tidbits that I found interesting:* He rebellious inclinations may have started when working for his brother* Having lost a son to small pox, Ben Franklin was pro-vax. He urged parents to get their children vaccinated!* Ben Franklin thought that women would benefit more from learning basic bookkeeping skills than dance or music. Maybe he was a proto-feminist.* Ben Franklin would have probably been a big open source advocate. He never bothered to patent his now famous Franklin stove and he couldn't be bothered to pursue legal matters over those who stole the design and patented it. He was just happy that people benefited from it.To be sure, there were plenty of booorrrrrriiinnnnggg passages between the interesting bits. There were times when I thought, why the hell is he prattling on about a Reverend Whitefield and how traveling preachers are better because they can preach the same sermon over and over and with such repetition comes practice and improvement. I'm sure that's true, but if it was important to your life Mr. Franklin, I was too bored to notice.

  • Mary Pat
    2019-02-13 17:56

    Advice from Old BenIf you want to know about the events of Ben Franklin's life, seek a different book. That is not the primary focus of this book, and much of what old Ben details will probably seem tedious or trivial compared to the Revolution....which the book stops twenty years shy of.Autobiography deals with what the subject himself thinks important for others to know, and what Franklin pays a lot of time on in this book is advice. For those looking for it, there is advice on how to persuade others, advice on how to have a productive life, advice on how to keep the streets clean of muck (ok, not everything is equally useful now.) He randomly drops in ideas for experimenting to improve all sorts of things which have no direct bearing on what he actually did.Even though Ben lived to a ripe old age, this book breaks off in 1757, in the middle of the French and Indian War...still bitching about a debt the Brits owed him that was never repaid.Perhaps Ben knew that plenty of others would cover his life very well in multiple biographies, so you can read any of those to see what those authors thought important. But Old Ben had some very good advice on how to deal with others, so I think it's a good idea for those wanting to figure out how to navigate the world of people to read. I especially loved his idea of having the Presbyterian minister to hand out the evening rum after services as a way to get the soldiers to show up for his sermons. My point: leave behind an expectation that this book will give you intimate details of Ben Franklin's life. It won't. But it will help you understand how he ran business and organizations.

  • Мартин Касабов
    2019-02-04 12:29

    Тази книга е чисто злато! Ако зависеше от мен, бих я включил в задължителната учебна програма. Всеки млад мъж трябва да я прочете. Б. Франклин разказва с много тънко чувство за хумор, покривайки основните етапи от своето развитие до 50 г. възраст. Може би най-ценните страници са тези за неговата младост, защото именно тогава се изгражда бъдещия гений и как мислите става това? Здрава работа, постоянство, железни принципи и много, много четене на книги. Франклин е един от най-съвършените примери за себеобразованието и неговата потенциална сила и мащаб. Ако човек е решителен и изгради принципи, които с времето се превърнат в навици, ако инвестира цялата си енергия и свободно време в целите, които си е поставил, то няма нещо, което да не може да постигне. Ясно осъзнах, докато четях, че Франклин всъщност е постигнал the american dream и тогава се замислих в колко грешна посока вървят хората днес, нищо че са си поставили същата цел. Ако искаш да си успешен трябва да инвестираш дългосрочно, трябва да обогатяваш културата и познанията си, трябва да имаш страст за нещо и да го правиш със сърце и желание. Няма друг път към истинския постоянен успех, който носи удовлетворение и дълготрайно щастие и който се пренася върху следващото поколение. Препоръчвам я на абсолютно всеки. Не само ще получите невероятен пример и практически self-help съвети, но също така ще се запознаете с един от основателите на американската държава и ще получите едно добро описание на живота през 18 век.